Uniformly Deadly Cancer Becomes One of Oncology’s Biggest Successes
Fifty years ago, 90 percent of men diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer died within a year. Today, more than 90 percent are cured.1
This monumental achievement began in 1977, when Dr. Lawrence Einhorn and his colleagues first reported that a new chemotherapy regimen – combining cisplatin, vinblastine and bleomycin – produced complete remissions for almost three in four men with aggressive testicular cancer. Prior chemotherapy treatments worked only about 5 percent of the time. The new regimen, known as PVB, also brought unprecedented five-year survival rates of 64 percent.1
By 1984, PVB was replaced by an even more potent chemotherapy regimen known as BEP, a combination of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin. The new drugs also caused fewer side effects.2
Over time, these advances were combined with other innovations, including new surgical strategies that preserve sexual function and refined radiation techniques, making testicular cancer one of oncology’s biggest success stories to date.
“One of the greatest highlights of modern cancer treatment.”
“Took the most lethal cancer for young men to the most curable.”
“It was the proof of principle that very advanced solid tumors could be cured with chemotherapy, opening an era of new hope in the neoplastic world.”
“From a number of life-years saved standpoint, discovering a cure for the overwhelming majority of these patients has provided long lives for countless young men on this planet.”
- Nasser, N, Einhorn, LH: Testicular Cancer: A Reflection on 50 Years of Discovery. J Clin Oncol. 2014;32:3085-92.
- Einhorn LH: Curing Metastatic Testicular Cancer. PNAS, 2002;99:4592–4595.